Cycling Gear Essentials

14 September, 2018

Now that you know what to wear and how to prep your bike for a ride, today's post is all about cycling gear essentials. Whether you just bought a new bike or you have a trusty ride that you’ve owned for years, there are many ways to gear it to make cycling more fun or practical. Setting your bike up properly for the type of riding you do, whether that’s commuting, road cycling, long-distance touring, can make your adventures more comfortable and enjoyable. Over the years, cycling products have changed and become more fitting to our personalities and needs. If you're needing to stock up on gear, consider picking up these important accessories for your bike before setting out on a ride.

Bike Tools

Multi-ToolYou never know when you’ll need to tighten a loose bolt or fix a busted chain. Be prepared and carry a multi-tool on every ride. Think about carrying tire levers, too. They are helpful when removing your tire from the rim while fixing a flat.

Bike Tire Patch Kit and Spare TubeIf you get a flat tire out on the road, you’ll need a way to fix it. A simple patch kit can fix a small puncture in the tube. For large punctures and blowouts, replacing the tube is your best option.

Bike PumpAfter fixing a flat, you need a way to inflate the tube, so always carry a small pump that will fit in your backpack or mount to your bike frame. To get rolling again with the least amount of delay, use a carbon dioxide inflator. These inflators use CO2 cartridges to inflate your tires quickly.

Larger floor pumps are intended for home use and are not practical for taking along on a ride. They inflate tires much faster than small, frame-mounted pumps and are built to stand up to frequent use 
throughout the cycling season. 
Bike Accessories

Bike FendersFenders help protect you and your fellow riders from water and mud splatters while you ride. Fenders are designed with easy clip-on attachment systems or sturdier bolt-on attachment systems. Clip-on fenders are nice for quick installation before the rainy season and easy removal when you need to lighten your bike up for a long ride or race. Clip-on fenders are the easiest option for bikes that don’t have threaded fittings for bolts, but they typically don’t provide the same protection as bolt-on fenders.

Full-length bolt-on fenders provide the best coverage and they will rattle less during a ride because of their secure attachment to the bike. Bolt-on fenders require that your bike frame has threaded fittings for installation.

Bike ComputersBike computers let you track distance, speed, time and more. Many are wireless. Higher-end models include GPS for tracking your route, an altimeter for recording elevation gain and loss, and the ability to communicate wirelessly with a heart rate monitor strap.

Some riders prefer to use cycling-specific apps like Strava to turn their smartphone into a bike computer. Mounts and cases are available that allow you to attach your phone to your handlebars or stem.

Bike Locks Help protect your bike from crooks with a sturdy lock. For long-term storage, look for a heavy-duty U-lock or chain lock. Cable locks tend to be less secure, however, they are very convenient for quick stops in low-crime areas. They are also a good choice for use in combination with a U-lock or chain lock to secure easily removed parts, like a seat or front wheel.

To stay hydrated while you ride you need easy access to water. Bottle cages hold your water bottles securely and attaches to your bike frame using bolts that screw into threaded fittings on the seat tube or down tube. If your bike doesn’t have threaded fittings, look for a bottle cage that installs with straps or a clamp.
Most water bottles for cycling have sport tops that are easy to open with one hand or your teeth and allow you to squirt or suck water while you’re riding.


Bike Safety Equipment
Bike Lights Headlights and taillights are essential for use at night and in bad weather. Headlights range from basic safety models that help motorists see you in dim light, to high-end, high-output lighting systems that light up the trail or road ahead.

Taillights are designed to help motorists and other cyclists see you from behind. Just like the taillights on your car, taillights for bikes are red. Most have flashing and steady modes.

Bike Reflectors and BellsBike reflectors, mirrors and bells are simple, low-cost additions with valuable payoffs. Reflectors improve your visibility to vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians, while a bell is an easy way to alert cyclists and pedestrians to your presence before you pass.


Carry Your Essentials
My favorite bags to carry personal items in are handlebar bags such as the Road Runner's Burrito handlbar bag and Po Campo's Kinga Handle Bar Bags, perfect for all my snacks and personal items such as sunscreen, a credit-card, insurance card, ID, cash, and phone (these you always want to carry on your body too). Little extra's I like to keep on hand is a small bottle of sunscreen, spf lip balm, chamois packet, a zip lock of money, and handkerchief to wipe sweat off my face during rides. Plus you never know when you'll need to reapply any of these items or need a dry dollar bill. 

Hope this cycling gear essentials guide will help you be prepared for any ride you set out to. I'm really looking forward to this weekends Rapha Women's 100 Ride - you still have time to sign up and read up on preparing for the #Womens100 ride.  Remember to have fun on any ride. It's not a competition but rather a great experience and opportunity to meet new friends and riding buddies!

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